Argentina’s World Cup campaign has been turbulent to say the least, but their manager insists he is not about to bow out.
Jorge Sampaoli defiantly dismissed any uncertainty about his future with Argentina and intends to fight to keep his managerial job for as long as he can.
Argentina endured a difficult group stage at the World Cup, scraping through by the skin of their teeth thanks to an 86th-minute Marcos Rojo goal in a 2-1 win over Nigeria.
Sampaoli had to contend with reports of a mutiny, as some publications claimed players had requested the sacking of their coach and the instatement of general manager Jorge Burruchaga after the 3-0 defeat to Croatia.
The former Chile and Sevilla coach survived, but still there are suggestions he will not be allowed to retain his post after the World Cup.
But Sampaoli will not go down without a fight.
Speaking to reporters in his pre-match news conference at Kazan Arena ahead of the last-16 meeting with France, Sampaoli said: “I have a contract and I’m happy to be here despite what sometimes surrounds this job.
“So, as long as I can fight to be here, I’ll be here every day.”
Sampaoli was the subject of particular scorn during the Nigeria match when, according to reports in Argentina, he asked Lionel Messi if he wanted Sergio Aguero to come on .
Aguero was introduced shortly after and the situation has brought Sampaoli’s authority under further scrutiny, but he insists it did not quite happen as was said.
“Well, I remember that point in time, but everything I mentioned to the players is personal and I don’t think it’s for the public domain, it was a simple exchange I had with a player,” Sampaoli said.
“That’s not how to characterise it. We make important decisions in games and I was simply explaining it, that we would use a strategy we had; using more attacking players.”